Pre Exercise Checkup

We know that this time of year is a great time to start an exercise program. Mardi Gras is behind us and summer is just around the corner. For most people, there is a safe program that is right for them. We want to be your partner in helping determine if you are safe to commence an exercise program and what kind of exercise is appropriate.

To that end we have implemented a Pre Exercise Screening process. This allows us to do the following:

  • 1. Determine if you have cardiovascular risk factors.
  • 2. Determine if you have musculoskeletal risk factors.
  • 3. Direct you into the correct exercise program so that risk of injury or adverse event is minimized.

We use the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines for cardiovascular risk assessment.

This service is provided at no charge. If you would like to participate in this screening process, please call the STAR PT clinic closest to you!

Physician Spotlight for March – Dr. Almubaslat

Each month we will be interviewing a local physician. It is important that we all know a little about the physicians in the area in order for you to make an informed decision about who is the best doctor for your situation. We hope this feature will be able to help guide your choices in health care.

This month we interviewed Dr. Almubaslat. He is a neurosurgeon located in Mandeville.

Good evening, Dr. Almubaslat. Thank you for taking the time to meet with me. How would you describe your specialty to our readers?

My specialty is neurosurgery, which involves treating the disorders of the central nervous system and its associated parts, with expertise in surgical diseases. This includes the brain and the spinal cord and nerves throughout the body. Since the spine in the neck and back is intimately associated with the spinal cord, most neurosurgeons are heavily trained in spine surgery for years, with additional expertise based on each surgeon’s experience. In addition to brain surgery, we treat all spinal pain disorders in our institute, and perform all associated procedures, including minimally invasive spine surgery, complex spine surgery and less invasive procedures involving the use of injections, ablation, laser treatment, and non-surgical treatment of spine-related pain.

What can patients call you if they’re not sure how to pronounce your last name?

Dr. Al is just fine.

Where did you grow up?

Dayton, Ohio

Where did you go to medical school?

I attended Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. I did my residency at Tulane University and my fellowship at Indiana University, but ultimately came back to Louisiana.

Why did you choose to practice here in Mandeville?

The people. I have a real affinity for the people here. I feel part of a family being in this community, and among people who truly have giving spirits. I simply feel at home here.

What kind of patients do you most enjoy helping?

Patients that possess the patience to adhere to the treatment plan. Every patient is different and that is why we tailor treatment to not only the clinical findings, but also the patient’s personality, psychology, social and financial situation.

How long would a new patient have to wait to get an appointment?

Between 1 day and 1 week depending on the urgency of their condition.

What are some of the recent advances in the treatment of spine related pain?

There have been several recent advances in both the surgical treatment of spinal disorders, and recognizing certain conditions with new diagnostic modalities that were not available before. Minimally invasive spinal surgery has been evolving for the last 15 years or so, with newer instruments that provide smaller corridors to the problem without compromising quality. There are also advances in the recognition of new disease entities, such as sacroiliac joint disorders. These involve the study of pain that emanates from the joint between the sacrum and the pelvis or hip bone. Pain is often felt in the low back and buttock but symptoms can also extend into the leg. The understanding of this disease has evolved only in the last 5 years and newer techniques in the treatment of such entity, both non-surgically and surgically are coming to light, including SI joint fusion for patients not responding to more conservative measures.

Advances have also been made in the development of new metrics for evaluating the degree of degeneration and deformity in the spine as a whole. This allows us to see how the entire spine is balanced and enables us to provide more effective surgical approach if surgery is needed.

What is one thing that is really important to you about the way you practice?

It is really important to me to get to know the patient and their condition before embarking on a treatment plan, especially surgery. While surgery is sometimes deemed more urgent when the condition endangers the nerves or the spinal cord, I like to have ample discussion, education, and trust building in the treatment as spinal disorders are more challenging entities than others. That may involve seeing patients early, before other conservative measure, such as physical therapy, are started. This way I can monitor and guide the patient through proper course and measures of treatment to achieve the best outcome.

What is the one thing you wish people would know about your practice?

There really are two things:
1. We can offer almost any patient some evaluation or treatment, and not just surgery. People are sometimes afraid to have their spine evaluated because they think that will mean eminent surgery, and that is not the case.
2. In addition to treating the variety of brain surgical disorders, we offer the most advanced technology in the treatment spinal disorders. These are similar to the procedures you see nationally advertised on TV or magazines by some surgical centers out of state. These centers are very costly for patients, and often times patients discover the same treatment is available locally only after they have spent significant amount of money and resources in seeking such centers.

What do you like to do on weekends?

I have appreciation for music and the arts, and have no shortage of art and culture in our area. I love to play guitar, attend some live bands, Opera and art events. I am a big fan of traditional jazz and swing bands, as well as some local musicians, such as John Cleary, Jimmy Robinson and Phil DeGruy, as well as the more known ones like Dr. John. And of course, during football season, I am a big Saints fan, and I am looking for more good football from them!

Thanks for your time. It was really a pleasure getting to know you.

Click here for more information on his practice.

Clinical Research

Just how intense does your exercise program have to be to be effective?

This is a great question often asked by people who just don’t enjoy the breathless, sweaty, fatigued feeling that often comes with intense exercise programs focused on fast results.

A relatively recent study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology sheds some light on this question.

High-intensity interval training has been proposed as a time-efficient alternative to traditional cardiorespiratory exercise training, but is very fatiguing. In this study, the scientists investigated the effects of a reduced-exertion exercise intervention on insulin sensitivity and aerobic capacity. Subjects completed three exercise sessions per week for 6 weeks. The 10-min exercise sessions consisted of low-intensity cycling and one (first session) or two (all other sessions) brief ‘all-out’ sprints (10 s in week 1, 15 s in weeks 2–3 and 20 s in the final 3 weeks).

Despite relatively low ratings of perceived exertion, there were significant improvements in metabolism and cardiovascular fitness.

The take home for us is that you don’t need to exercise at a super-high intensity to get results. Just getting in the gym and doing something on a consistent basis is probably going to help.

Employee Spotlight- Ravi “Vee” Bates, PT
Each month we will introduce one of our great employees.

Who gave you your nickname and why?

My twin brother (Rashi) and I came up with the names when we were kids. Shi (but I spell it “She” to mess with him) and Vee is what most of our friends and family calls us. When I met my wife in college she refused to call me Vee and that’s pretty consistent today. I’ve learned to accept it!

What is your favorite restaurant in New Orleans? What dish should we get?

Without a doubt Jacques-Imo’s because if your lucky you’ll find Jacques wandering about after having a bit too much wine, and the carpet bagger steak is delicious.

How did you meet your wife?

I met my wife at a college party. My version is she couldn’t keep her eyes off me all night so I asked her to dance, but my wife will tell you a different version. Either way she ignored me for weeks after, but my persistence and humor is what finally got the job done. Sixteen years and 3 beautiful children later I still catch her eyes looking quite a bit.

Tell us a time you knew you made the correct career choice.

When I was a student PT completing one of my rotations at a hospital, I met this teenage kid who had a car accident and left him partially paralyzed from the waist down. Despite his injury, he always had a great outlook on things whenever I worked with him. I can remember how he could never stand for longer than 10 seconds without assistance until one day after a lot of hard work he stood for over a minute. Given his previous outlook I thought he would be thrilled and so excited but it was just the opposite. He was very quiet and even teared up a bit. I can remember he leaned over and gave me a hug and quietly whispered in my ear, “You did this man.”. After that I was hooked!

What are your kids names and how old are they?

My kids are Gran Marsupial, Bextarra and Kyser Soze or at least that’s what I wanted their names to be. My wife convinced me that wasn’t a good idea so we named them Payton, Carson (the girls) and Colin (the boy). Great kids, just very active. Payton is 9, and she’s like the head coach. Colin is 7, and he’s like the running back jumping over people making touchdowns and fans happy. Carson is 3, and she’s like the owner who sits in the suite ready to fire people if they don’t perform. Sorry I like football analogies.